Coming Together for a Community Cleanup: 2022 Intern Day of Service
Rewarding, eye-opening and fun – all words used to describe this year’s annual Intern Day of Service.
As part of Samsung’s 2022 summer internship program, students participated in an annual Intern Day of Service at the company’s North American Headquarters in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. Having just passed the halfway mark of the 8-week long program, the young professionals have been challenged to push the boundaries of innovation and take a deeper dive into the in’s and out’s of life at Samsung. The Intern Day of Service amplifying the company’s annual Samsung Gives Day of Service occurring each fall where employees participate in a variety volunteer activities throughout the country.
This year, Samsung interns teamed up with Hackensack Riverkeeper to clean up trash and debris polluting the Hackensack River Watershed. With part of the 197-mile watershed flowing right behind Samsung’s Ridgefield Park office, the company has worked alongside Hackensack Riverkeeper since 2014 to protect and preserve all that depend on the river and its surroundings.
The hybrid event kicked off Monday afternoon with a discussion about the importance of water conservation and exploring the ways to build a more sustainable future. With a fourfold strategy of environmental action, advocacy, education and litigation, members of Hackensack Riverkeeper taught the volunteers about Overpeck Creek, an 8-mile long tributary of the Hackensack River and backyard to Samsung’s Ridgefield Park office.
“It was surprising to hear how much ended up in the water from natural disasters, like hurricanes,” said Anum Anwar, HR Intern. “I always wondered how people could knowingly throw so much trash in the water knowing that it affects wildlife, the river itself and everything surrounding it. It was eye-opening to see and really showed that we have to make that change. Whether it’s actually cleaning the river, or exploring other ways that we can help.”
The next morning, interns gathered at Overpeck County Park to begin their cleanup, while interns in other locations were encouraged to head out into their local communities. Those who partook in activities at the Ridgefield Park office buddied up and were given the choice to stroll through the park or hop in kayaks to tackle the day of volunteer work ahead.
Robert Itzkowitz, MX Business Intern, partnered with Anum as they prepared to take off on their kayak. “The Intern Day of Service was a unique and enjoyable way to meet other interns outside of my department,” said Robert. “We collaborated outside of an office setting to reach a team goal of cleaning up the river, highlighting the importance of giving back.”
“We picked up so many random things that I wouldn’t have expected to find like a shoe, a children’s table, a chair and so much more,” Anum added. “We collected so much furniture, that we welcomed people to see our new furnished apartment in the canoe. We both got splashed plenty as we pulled things out of the water, but knew we needed to do it.”
Anum continued by explaining how the day was filled with meeting new friends, experiencing Samsung’s commitment to sustainability and even stepping out of her comfort zone when kayaking for the first time. Erica Hwang, Corporate Marketing Intern, had a similar experience with her partner, as she described the day as “enlightening and productive.”
“Having been born and raised in Bergen County, I was glad to see the company I work to give back to my community,” Erica explained. “It was great to experience how Samsung demonstrates its core values even outside of the office through its employees and team-building activities. My favorite part of the day was being able to meet my fellow interns. Since most of us are hybrid or based in different offices, it was exciting to have the opportunity to get to know each other and talk about our internship experiences so far.”
Following the clean-up, the interns reconvened for a wrap-up session to reflect on the day’s activities. Weighing in at 477 pounds of trash and debris, the interns gathered 12 full 45-gallon trash bags, 4 car tires and several other large objects. Each item collected demonstrated how simple, everyday actions can create a meaningful impact.
Having spent the day learning, taking action and meeting new people, the Intern Day of Service allowed each volunteer to take a moment and enjoy the nature surrounding where Samsung’s people live and work. While this is one of several ways that the company is making strides toward building a better future, Samsung is continuing to innovate and implement to push forward in creating a greener, more sustainable world for all to enjoy.